Leblanc gets Irish flag flying early in juniors
Talented Dubliner Kevin LeBlanc (15) struck the perfect opening note for Ireland's professionals at the British Open yesterday with a cracking one-stroke victory in the Junior Open at West Lancashire Golf Club.
"I couldn't be any happier," said LeBlanc, another sparkling product of The Island Golf Club's youth programme, after landing Ireland's second victory at this prestigious international championship and first since Cian McNamara at Musselburgh in 2002.
"This means an awful lot. I came straight here from the European Boys in Norway and wanted to win it. I got there in the end. This is my biggest achievement," added LeBlanc, a two-time winner of the Irish Boys U-15 title.
His final-round 74, a splendid effort in difficult conditions, left LeBlanc on five-over, one clear of Teodoro Soldati of Italy and Belgian Diane Baillieux, who tied second after closing 76s in a 54-hole event which drew 126 starters from 77 countries.
"I'd a good save on 11, made a good shot into 12 but missed the putt and was pretty annoyed," the Donabate local explained. "On 13 I hit a really good tee shot but went into the rough and made bogey but birdied 14 to get it back.
"One-over for the back nine was good shooting in these conditions, especially when the rain came on heavy," added LeBlanc. He was accompanied by his dad Hugh, "who has been with me all week and was great support – great ball-spotting."